Posted on July 15, 2010
Ex-Generals Leader Launching
AAHL Franchise in Lapeer?
BY MIKE KILLBREATH
Crusader News Service Executive Editor
AM ADVANTAGE has learned that former Flint Generals executive Peter South is set to launch a new franchise in
Lapeer for a team that will play next season in the All-American Hockey League (AAHL).
AAHL Commissioner Rod Davidson would not confirm or deny what sources said about South's plans, except to say a
press conference will be revealed soon for Lapeer. "I can't say anthing yet about anything," Davidson said.
The now three-year-old pro league has smaller budgets than the International Hockey League where the Flint
Generals played last season. The AAHL is single-A caliber. The Flint Generals were considered double-A level pro
South's efforts to save IHL play at Perani Arena & Event Center failed when a lease was awarded last month to a
group that bought a franchise from Marquette to move it here. While the new Michigan Warriors will play out of the
4,021-seat arena in Flint, sources say South will shift his new operation about 20 minutes east on I-69 to Polar
Sports Complex in Lapeer. The arena has seating for about 1,000 fans and more inside a restaurant/bar that
overlooks the arena playing surface.
South apparently has financial backing lined up from a Lapeer County businessman, according to sources close
to the AAHL operation.
South returned last season to lead the Generals as general manager. He was an assistant coach under Kevin Kerr
in the 2008-09 campaign, and was elevated to co-coaching when Kerr was fired in mid-season. South started the
2009-10 season as head coach, but was demoted to co-coach by November when former star player Bobby Reynolds was
convinced to return to the team. Reynolds became head coach when south resigned three games into the co-coaching
Last season's AAHL champion Evansville Icemen have jumped to the IHL which has merged with the Central Hockey
League. That leaves the AAHL with three returning teams. They are in Battle Creek, a Chicago suburb and Muskegon.
AAHL Commissioner Davidson said he is hopeful that other cities will be announced soon.
The AAHL had teams fail at mid-season two straight seasons in Fraser where the Generals once had an opponent in
their league known as the Detroit Falcons. The Fraser rink was once owned by Dr. Afr who moved the Falcons to
Port Huron before shutting down his operaton there. Dr. Afr is also the former owner of Flint Iceland Arenas.
Davidson would not offer a drop-dead date for finalizing terms of deals with cities now negotiating for rights to
play this coming season in the AAHL. He admitted it was a shock when Evansville pulled out after originally giving
the AAHL a commitment to play next season. Ron Geary, who owns a race track in Kentucky, is the owner of the
Evansville operation who visited during a playoff game last year to spark hope that he would buy the Generals.
Pat McEarchern, owner of the Michigan Warriors Junior A franchise that will call Perani Arena & Event Center home
this winter, said he was not aware of any plans by South. "I have not heard a single word about the AAHL," he
said. McEarchern added that his lease would not allow a pro team to share the facility with his Warriors.
"We have a five-year deal in Flint," he said. "I do not know much about the AAHL, but I wish them well in Lapeer
if that's what they decide to do."
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